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Wiliam C. Rivenbark, Ph.D. - UNC-Chapel Hill. Raleigh-Durham, NC, US

Wiliam C. Rivenbark, Ph.D. Wiliam C. Rivenbark, Ph.D.

Professor, Public Administration and Government & Director, MPA Program | UNC-Chapel Hill

Raleigh-Durham, NC, UNITED STATES

Bill Rivenbark is a professor in the School of Government and director of the Master of Public Administration program at UNC-Chapel Hill.



Wiliam C. Rivenbark, Ph.D. Publication



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Bill Rivenbark joined the School of Government (then the Institute of Government) in 1999. Prior to that, he worked for the city of Greenville, South Carolina, in various management positions. His research at the School of Government primarily involves performance and financial management in local government and has appeared in Public Administration Review, Government Finance Review, Journal of Government Financial Management, Journal of Public Affairs Education, Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, Popular Government, Public Administration Quarterly, Public Finance Review, Public Performance & Management Review, and State and Local Government Review. He also is coauthor of Performance Budgeting for State and Local Government (M.E. Sharpe, 2003). He helped to develop the County and Municipal Fiscal Analysis tool, a web-based dashboard designed to help North Carolina local governments analyze their fiscal condition. He was named director of the MPA program at the School of Government in 2011. Rivenbark earned a BS from Auburn University, an MPA from Auburn University at Montgomery, and a PhD from Mississippi State University.

Industry Expertise (4)

Education/Learning Research Government Relations Government Administration

Areas of Expertise (6)

Public Administration Local Government Organization/Administration Budget Preparation and Enactment Benchmarking Performance Measurement Process Improvement in Local Government

Accomplishments (1)

Fulbright Specialist Award (2010) (professional)

The Fulbright Specialist Program (FSP) promotes linkages between U.S. scholars and professionals and their counterparts at host institutions overseas.

Professor Rivenbark was a Fulbright Specialist for six weeks in June and July 2010 at the University of Palermo in Palermo, Italy.

Education (3)

Mississippi State University: Ph.D., Doctorate

Auburn University at Montgomery: M.P.A., Master of Public Administration

Auburn University: B.S., Bachelor of Science

Affiliations (1)

  • Master of Public Administration Program UNC-Chapel Hill - Director

Event Appearances (2)

Capital Spending in the Midst of the Great Recession

2015 NCLGBA Summer Conference  Shell Island, Wrightsville Beach


Follow the $ Trail

Speaker  Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina


Courses (2)

Budgeting and Financial Mangement

This module focuses on 1) the fiduciary responsibilities of LME board members, and 2) the major sources of revenue available to LME boards.

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Budgeting in Local Government

Completion of this course fulfills one of the core course requirements for the Local Government Finance Officers Certification Program. City and county managers, finance officers and staff, budget administrators and analysts, and others who have responsibilities for annual budget preparation will benefit from this course.

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Articles (4)

Exploring Countercyclical Fiscal Policy in Local Government: Moving Beyond an Aggregated Approach International Journal of Public Administration

November 11, 2014

There is a renewed interest in the fiscal health of local governments in the United States, which is being driven in part by academic research, professional organizations, and the economy. This renewed interest also includes how local governments use their cash reserves for countercyclical fiscal policy, which is a stream of research that has received minimal attention in the literature. We respond in this article by exploring how 97 North Carolina counties used their cash reserves from 2005 to 2012, which includes the great recession of 2008 and 2009. Our findings provide some evidence of countercyclical fiscal policy in local government when exploring the use of cash reserves from an aggregated and disaggregated perspective. We conclude that more survey research and case studies are needed to advance the literature on fiscal policy in the local government.

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Performance Management in Local Government: The Application of System Dynamics to Promote Data Use International Journal of Public Administration

November 6, 2014

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how system dynamics can be used to enrich performance management in local government, focusing specifically on how the development of conceptual and simulation system dynamic models can foster a shared view of the relevant system among stakeholders to overcome factors that limit data use. Responding to this purpose, we present a normative case study on how key drivers can be used to foster a shared view of the residential refuse collection system for supporting policy and process changes. A major finding from our research, however, is that performance management cannot overlook the broader forces of citizenship outcomes that impact the community.

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Navigating Efficiency and Effectiveness Relationships across Local Government Services: Another Step toward Strategic Resource Management Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management

Winter 2013

A major part of maintaining a well-managed performance measurement system in local government is providing the infrastructure for performance management. The problem is that local officials often struggle with moving from adopting performance measures to actually using them for improving services and for making resource allocation decisions. This article responds to this struggle by presenting information on the relationships between efficiency and effectiveness measures across six local government service areas, with the goal of providing guidance on using performance measures to support strategic resource management. Our research suggests that stronger correlations exist between efficiency and effectiveness measures associated with local services that possess private good characteristics, concluding that performance measures associated with market-oriented services lend themselves more readily to making resource allocation decisions.

A Comparative Analysis of Performance Management Systems: the Cases of Sicily and North Carolina Public Performance & Management Review


Performance management is maturing as an effective organizational approach in public organizations around the world, but the existing models have limitations that must be addressed. The international comparative case study analysis in this article presents policy recommendations and organizational strategies on how regional governments can create more robust performance management systems for higher levels of accountability and transparency in a time of global economic crisis. These include the consideration of organizational structure regarding alignment, control, and culture, the positive impact of performance management legislation, the role of executive leadership, and the need for an informational infrastructure that supports performance management. the current economic crisis has changed the policy and management landscape for elected and administrative leaders around the world. It is no longer possible to rely on incremental decisions for policy changes and service adjustments. Public officials are faced with the necessity of making structural and functional modifica-tions at all levels of government as they grapple with the sustainability of service delivery within an environment of tenuous economic growth. the economic crisis has occurred at a time when stakeholders of public organizations are demanding higher levels of accountability and transparency. the good news is that govern-ments have been pursuing performance management reform to reach these higher levels since the introduction of the New Public Management (NPM) in the early 1990s. the challenge is that public organizations are struggling to move beyond the adoption of performance measurement and to embrace performance manage-ment, which is accomplished when elected and administrative leaders actually use.

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